Friday, August 31, 2012

Our Story


We are the Patricio family, party of four. ‘Daddy’ - DJ, ‘Momma’ - Amber, 5 year old Luca and 2 year old Novella. I think it’s fair to say our homeschool journey started in about 2008, at least the dream of it.  After Luca turned one, I had a God calling...a real tug on the heartstrings about a future in homeschooling for our family.  At the time, I was only a year out of my public school teaching career, but know indefinitely I had no plan to extend my contract and return to the public school system.  I thought about private school...for a brief moment, but the expense being one factor and turning away from an obvious direction the Lord was calling me to follow being the main factor. God entrusting our children to us is a enormous responsibility and the calling to raise them in the faith and admonition of the Lord, wow! 

This is bound to be one amazing journey. 

Even in early doubts of our ability, (can we really do this??!!) my thoughts raced with all of the edification we needed.  Who would know our children better than we did, their strengths & weaknesses, learning styles and passions? Isn't it our responsibility as parents to raise our children, and doesn’t that parenting then translate to teaching....ahhh, yes! It was all beginning to make perfect sense. This is what I was called to do!  This is why I spent years as a child setting up “classrooms” for my brothers and sisters, all in God’s loving sense of humor was he setting me up for the plans He had for me.  

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"  (Jeremiah 29:11)

I began to read everything I could get my hands on about homeschooling (over 30 books in the last 3 years!)...but then the fear set back in...how will I convince my husband? What will our families think? Our friends?  Will our son be labeled “weird”?  

and here’s where the “Hallelujahs” began pouring in.

Fear #1 - Husband...unbelievably and amazingly had no case to persuade. He was on board and supportive from Day 1! I am one blessed Momma. 

Fear #2 - Family & Friends...welcome to our blog! We hope you will enjoy a peek into our journey and pray for your love and support. We will need it! 

Fear #3 - labeled “weird”?  Well...that is ok with us. Looking around at society today, and more scarily looking into the schools is a continual reminder of the responsibility we carry to expose our children to a different environment, especially in their younger and impressionable years.  Can we help them avoid the bullying, peer-dependency, early exposure to alcohol & drugs, violence, sexual experimentation, disrespect for adults?... the list goes on. We cannot shelter our children from the real world, but we can better equip them to handle what they will face through a strong upbringing in the faith, morality and values that cannot be taught in school.  

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

So back to the ‘weird’...bring it on. I’m up for raising world-changers! 



Thursday, August 30, 2012

Our Journey


Beginning September 3, 2012!


First Year 'School' Pictures!



Saturday, August 11, 2012

Myth Busters

We recently attended our state Homeschool convention in Orlando and joined the FPEA (Florida Parent Educators Association). They do a phenomenal job on their site exploring today's most popular myths about homeschooling. For more about FPEA, click here. 

MYTH  Homeschooling requires unyielding daylong devotion.
REALITY

While homeschooling requires time and devotion, the education can be safe, sincere, nurturing and highly effective without requiring an unyielding burden on the parents or child. The “One House on the Prairie” perception, although still possible and effective, doesn't reflect today's reality. Busy single parents, in fact, are homeschooling their children, as are fathers. Also, struggling learners and children who learn differently are succeeding academically, often better than their counterparts in public schools.

MYTH  Homeschooling only occurs at home.
REALITY

Home is, indeed, the foundation for learning, where the student begins to receive the necessary rock-solid confidence to excel. Yet, homeschooling is far from confined to the home. There are classes and education co-ops available to attend, along with clubs and sports to join, plus a host of other activities that promote interaction and synergy among homeschool students and families.

MYTH  Homeschool students lack social skills.
REALITY

Quite the opposite is true. Widespread national studies find that homeschool children are better socialized than students from public and private schools. Having children at home, where the family can be their major influence rather than peers, socialization becomes overwhelmingly positive. Add the fact that there are plenty of opportunities for homeschool children to interact with one another and the myth of poor socialization is easily dispelled.

MYTH Parents without a strong academic background cannot teach their children.
REALITY

Parents and students effectively learn together. Parents need only an enthusiasm for learning along with a commitment to make the effort. Statistics show that a parent's level of education has no influence on how well their children do in home education. By virtue of grade-specific online resources, DVDs, the Florida Parent Educators Association, local support groups, certified teachers, homeschool classes/co-ops, plus county school boards and virtual education programs, ample assistance is available.

MYTH  Homeschooling doesn't involve the county public school board.
REALITY

Every county school board has a homeschool liaison and resources to answer questions. Also, the FPEA has relationships with each school board statewide. The school boards are responsible for monitoring homeschool progress and offer a virtual education program and actual classes. Students can take up to three such classes, essentially going to school part time, and still be considered homeschooled.


MYTH  Children never ask to be homeschooled.
REALITY

Some don't ask — they beg. Children will make the request for several reasons, including because their friends are being successfully homeschooled, they want more personal attention and the freedom to pursue their true academic passions, and they feel safer in a nonpublic environment. Public schools and traditional private schools aren't for everybody. Especially as they get older, many children realize that fact and seek out an alternative.

MYTH  Homeschooling is not the place for struggling learners or children who have difficulty learning?
REALITY

Children who learn differently make up a steadily increasing segment of the homeschool population, as is the case with special needs' children. While traditional schools are set up to service the needs of the general public, or the masses, home education can be tailored to personalize the learning process. Simply, compare a class of five struggling learners to a homeschool class of one that also has the benefit of focused dedication and numerous support resources.

MYTH  Homeschoolers can't play on public-school sports team.
REALITY

Homeschoolers can play on those teams. Florida passed the Craig Dickinson Act in 1997, which allows homeschoolers to participate in sports programs for public and private schools. (This provision is the same that gave Tim Tebow the opportunity to play high school sports before playing for the University of Florida.) However, before planning for your child to try out for a public school team, it's wise to meet with the school's athletic administrators to clarify any possible misunderstandings.

MYTH  Homeschool doesn't prepare students for college.
REALITY

Yes, it does. And quite effectively. Major universities now actually reserve a certain percentage of their enrollment solely for homeschoolers, because they know those students know how to study and are typically more self disciplined and well rounded than their counter parts in public school. On the college-entrance Scholastic Achievement Test (SAT), homeschoolers score 67 points above the national average, and homeschoolers outperform all other students on the ACT (American College Testing). Further, 68 percent of U.S. universities now accept parent-prepared transcripts.

MYTH Religion drives homeschooling.
REALITY

Although many homeschoolers do educate their children at home because of their religious beliefs, most manage to also give their children a well-balanced education. Along with the religious instruction, their children learn about other subjects and explore other ideology.

MYTH  Homeschooling isn't “normal.”
REALITY

The truth is that homeschooling families are as average and mainstream as public school families. Just like most families, they love one another, respect society's laws and traditions, and enjoy socializing with their neighbors. In fact, homeschoolers come from all over the country and from a wide range of political, religious, philosophical and socio-economic groups. The two common threads among homeschool parents are a lack of trust in the public school system and a desire to spend more quality time with their children. More than 2 million children are homeschooled across the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, and government statistics show the number of new homeschooling families is rising approximately 20 percent each year.

MYTH   Homeschooling harms public schools.
REALITY

While schools are allocated money from the government based on their enrollment figures, the difference lost from the non-attending homeschooling students is offset by the school not having to spend money on those students. Also, homeschooling families pay taxes that support the school system, even though they aren't utilizing the school's resources. Additionally, an argument can be made that the homeschoolers are helping the school by reducing the number of children attending that school and, thus, lowering the classroom-to-teacher ratio.

MYTH  Homeschooling parents think their children are too good for public school.
REALITY

This criticism often arises from a feeling of defensiveness on the part of public school parents. Many of those same people would like to homeschool their children, but find it impossible to do so because of economics, social stigmas, low confidence in their own ability to teach their children, and lack of free time. Actually, there is partial truth to this myth. Although homeschooling parents don't think their children are better than their public school peers, they do believe the educational benefits are worth the sacrifice, monetary and otherwise, to give their children what they perceive as a better education.

MYTH  My kids will just sit at home all day.
REALITY

Homeschooling empowers families to embrace experiential learning and extracurricular activities. This provides the flexibility to take a field trip when it’s convenient or move the classroom to another setting that is relaxing and inspiring. Daily schedules can be created that enable your child to learn at a time and a pace that make the most sense given the realities of your life. By enabling you to determine the months and days your student will receive instruction, homeschooling allows you to create a truly customized school year.

MYTH My child won’t learn the right things.
REALITY

One of the primary reasons parents decide to homeschool is because they don't believe the public school system is teaching the right lessons and instilling the proper values. With homeschooling, parents have more control over both curriculum and specific courses. Plus, plenty of guidance is available to help with those choices.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Why We Homeschool



Hands down, the reason we have decided to homeschool is to answer the calling from God above. Following that, we simply feel homeschooling is the best choice for our children.  To accomplish this, we are making a major overhaul in our family routine, and whatever sacrifices we can to make it work.  Momma is consolidating her work schedule into fewer days, Daddy is doing the evening reading and teaching... and we’ve hired help with childcare and house cleaning (Hey, I have no shame! I need the help!) 

Through all of my research and reading, many articles and experiences of other homeschooling families have inspired me.  In one book,  The Well-Adjusted Child, Rachel Gathercole mentions “the detachment snowball.”  This term was coined by Dr William Sears in The Baby Book.  She says, “According to this idea, the more time parents and kids spend apart, the less parents know and understand their kids; the less responsive, respectful, and communicative both parents and kids become; and the more time both need away from each other.”

Scary! I don’t want to reach the teenage years with children that want nothing to do with us.  Another reason we feel homeschooling will help to honor our family closeness.  

Because of my public school teaching experience, another nugget of truth found in a blog of a fellow teacher included an example that really stuck with me:

“Just imagine someone coming to your house, knocking on your door, and asking for the keys to your brand-new car.  They tell you they’re just going to use it during the day, but they’ll return it to you in the evening.”
Are you kidding?!!  That would be crazy…I’d never do that!
Are not our children much more valuable to us than a car?
Yet, we turn our children over to a teacher we’ve met once and let them be influenced and molded by them for hours each day.
Now, do not think for a second that I am bashing teachers!!  I know there are excellent teachers in my community, and there are excellent teachers all across the nation (I hope I was one of them)!  I know how challenging it is to teach and the rewards are often few and far between.  But because I was a teacher, I also know that there are many teachers whose hearts are not in it.  They’ve grown cynical.  They crush instead of inspire.  More than that, they don’t share my values — and even if they do, they can’t teach them outright in the public schools.

So.True.

So...what’s next?  The state of FL doesn't actually require us report our intent to homeschool until Luca turns 6 years old.  So for now, we continue to spend our time setting routines, habits and such to set us up for success....daily tasks/chores, our "together time" in the morning, lots of reading, singing, baking and crafts and LOTS of outside time! Which is what children need most...time to explore, imagine, build ...we’ll call this our ‘Kindergarten’. To supplement all of the fun, we are following a simple literature based curriculum called ‘Sonlight’. With a focus on reading time together, it covers language arts, world cultures, science, the arts, math and all the goodies. 

All the while, I'm observing and recording Luca's strengths, his weaknesses, what is his learning style? I know these factors will play a big role in our journey to come.

Don't get me wrong, I can't WAIT to dive into all of the exciting curriculum.  But for now I'm just enjoying their childhoods, working on my own character and example, setting a conducive environment and rhythm in my home (a daily battle!) and looking forward to the amazing journey that we as a family get to experience. Thanking God, that He placed the exact man in my life to marry, for his career with the Fire Department and the time off to help me execute, thankful for a flexible and thriving wedding business but above all, thankful for the gift of these precious 2 children that the Lord has bestowed upon US to teach, mold, shape...

"These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates"  (Deuteronomy 6:6-9)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

a little corner of the house

Proof that for one day (and probably never again) this room looks neat, fun and inviting.  Future photos to highlight paper and books EVERYWHERE, paint, crayons, science goo and a general mess that I will try endlessly to straighten up (but try to love the chaos anyway.) Thanks again to my darling hubby who allowed me to turn this beautiful room he literally 'built' for us (used to be a porch) into a total kid zone.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Our Story


We are the Patricio family, party of four. ‘Daddy’ - DJ, ‘Momma’ - Amber, 5 year old Luca and 2 year old Novella. I think it’s fair to say our homeschool journey started in about 2008, at least the dream of it.  After Luca turned one, I had a God calling...a real tug on the heartstrings about a future in homeschooling for our family.  At the time, I was only a year out of my public school teaching career, but know indefinitely I had no plan to extend my contract and return to the public school system.  I thought about private school...for a brief moment, but the expense being one factor and turning away from an obvious direction the Lord was calling me to follow being the main factor. God entrusting our children to us is a enormous responsibility and the calling to raise them in the faith and admonition of the Lord, wow! 

This is bound to be one amazing journey. 

Even in early doubts of our ability, (can we really do this??!!) my thoughts raced with all of the edification we needed.  Who would know our children better than we did, their strengths & weaknesses, learning styles and passions? Isn't it our responsibility as parents to raise our children, and doesn’t that parenting then translate to teaching....ahhh, yes! It was all beginning to make perfect sense. This is what I was called to do!  This is why I spent years as a child setting up “classrooms” for my brothers and sisters, all in God’s loving sense of humor was he setting me up for the plans He had for me.  

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future"  (Jeremiah 29:11)

I began to read everything I could get my hands on about homeschooling (over 30 books in the last 3 years!)...but then the fear set back in...how will I convince my husband? What will our families think? Our friends?  Will our son be labeled “weird”?  

and here’s where the “Hallelujahs” began pouring in.

Fear #1 - Husband...unbelievably and amazingly had no case to persuade. He was on board and supportive from Day 1! I am one blessed Momma. 

Fear #2 - Family & Friends...welcome to our blog! We hope you will enjoy a peek into our journey and pray for your love and support. We will need it! 

Fear #3 - labeled “weird”?  Well...that is ok with us. Looking around at society today, and more scarily looking into the schools is a continual reminder of the responsibility we carry to expose our children to a different environment, especially in their younger and impressionable years.  Can we help them avoid the bullying, peer-dependency, early exposure to alcohol & drugs, violence, sexual experimentation, disrespect for adults?... the list goes on. We cannot shelter our children from the real world, but we can better equip them to handle what they will face through a strong upbringing in the faith, morality and values that cannot be taught in school.  

“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

So back to the ‘weird’...bring it on. I’m up for raising world-changers!